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Client
Rush University Medical Center
Architect/Designer
HDR Architecture
City/Neighborhood
Chicago – Illinois Medical District
Size
480,000 sf

The Rubschlager building will accommodate the projected growth of the University's Medical programs and need across the campus.  It brings together health care providers across many different fields of study, from internists and medical oncologists to psychologists and social workers, for clinical trials and new treatment options.
 
Scheduled to complete in 2022, the facility will connect to the existing 14-story Medical Center's butterfly-shaped tower (completed by Power/Jacobs in 2011)  through an enclosed walkway on the 4th floor.  A 6-story parking structure has approximately 900 spaces to accommodate additional patients and staff at the facility. 

 
Digging Connecting Tunnel Below Ashland Avenue


To connect the new building to the campus central plant, we decided to bore six below-grade "sleeves" to house the different utilities necessary for the operation of the new building.  One of the first projects in Chicago to utilize this technique, the project team excavated an ascending pit roughly 54'x37' and 22' deep on the east side of Ashland and a receiving pit roughly 37'x24' and 27' deep on the west side adjacent to the main tower. The depths are of key importance so as not to disrupt pedestrian or vehicle traffic or existing city utilities. 
 
After constructing an elaborate earth retention system (ERS), a hydraulic press was placed on mounting rails - similar to train tracks - at the bottom of the ascending pit and positioned to be able to bore under the street while using the ERS for bracing.  Unlike directional boring where you can use video to monitor progress, this method requires setting a point on the receiving side and relying on coordinates to properly align the sleeves.  The largest of these sleeves is 48" in diameter and the underground placement has as little as 8" of tolerance.  Although not a new process, this method of boring is rarely used under a major thoroughfare due to the potential safety concerns and precise measurements needed before the hydraulic press can begin placement. 
 
The excavation and sleeve push took roughly 10 weeks and created no disturbances to the traffic on Ashland nor the University's operations